Press Release

Press Release  Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces $2.8 Million in Life Sciences Funding to Improve Women’s Health Outcomes

Funding announced during Governor Healey’s visit to Brigham and Women’s Hospital to spotlight Massachusetts’ leadership in life sciences and women’s health
For immediate release:
  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
  • Executive Office of Economic Development

Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces $2.8 Million in Life Sciences Funding to Improve Women’s Health Outcomes

Karissa Hand, Press Secretary

Boston — Today, Governor Maura T. Healey visited Brigham and Women’s Hospital to highlight Massachusetts’ leadership in life sciences and the Governor’s proposed 10-year reauthorization of the Life Sciences Initiative in her Mass Leads Act. She was joined by Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao, Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh, and President and CEO of Mass General Brigham Dr. Anne Klibanski for a tour of the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women's Health & Gender Biology. The Center is an anchor institution around women’s health and a key partner to the Massachusetts Life Science Center’s (MLSC) Women’s Health Initiative.  

During the visit, Governor Healey announced $2.8 million in new grants through the Women’s Health Project. The grants include $2.6 million through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Women’s Health Innovation program to support institutions that are advancing projects to improve women’s health outcomes. Another $250,000 in grants were from the First Look Awards, which are administered with the Connors Center and support early-stage research that advances the understanding of diseases and conditions that disproportionately affect women. 

“Our hospitals and research institutions are key contributors to Massachusetts’ global leadership in health care and thriving sectors such as the life sciences,” said Governor Healey. “Every day, patients’ lives are being transformed thanks to the hard work and innovation taking place at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and across Mass General Brigham. The Mass Leads Act aims to accelerate these efforts, particularly in areas like women’s health that have been historically overlooked and inspire breakthroughs for a generation to come.” 

“We are incredibly proud to support our world-leading network of hospitals and research institutions that are improving patient outcomes on a global scale,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Innovation is Massachusetts’ calling card now and into the future. The Mass Leads Act doubles down on our leadership opportunities in areas like women’s health to advance not only our life sciences sector, but also our health care system and broader economy.” 

The Governor is proposing a $1 billion, 10-year reauthorization of the Life Sciences Initiative, which will position Massachusetts to lengthen its lead as the global leader in this cutting-edge industry. In addition to competitiveness and innovation, equity is also prioritized in the new initiative, by creating better workforce pathways into careers in the industry and improving health outcomes for residents in Massachusetts.    

“The MLSC’s Women’s Health Initiative is a prime example of the unique leadership opportunity we have here in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao, who serves as Co-Chair of the MLSC Board of Directors. “Working closely with institutions like Brigham and Women’s Hospital and its other world-class peers, we can drive breakthroughs and take on the tough challenges that will change lives around the world. This type of ecosystem is why Massachusetts won the ARPA-H Investor Catalyst Hub and why the Mass Leads Act is such a critical proposal to lengthen our lead and continue making transformative investments.” 

“Health care and the life sciences are deeply intertwined. In Massachusetts, we’re lucky to excel in both. By leveraging the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s focus on equity in both health innovation and care delivery, we’re on the path to improving health outcomes for people in Massachusetts and across the country,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh. “This is a special moment for Massachusetts. Our world-class leaders, ARPA-H hub, and proposed investments in the Mass Leads Act will ensure a new chapter of health innovation that leaves no patient behind.” 

MLSC launched its Women’s Health Initiative in 2020, to turn the tide against the severe lack of organized capital and incentives around a coordinated women’s health approach. Since 2020, the MLSC has deployed more than $19 million across 60 projects in collaboration with 15 companies, fostering advancements in translational research. With continued strategic investment in this area, Massachusetts is poised to become the leader in the women’s health space. The current programs offered through the Initiative focus on increasing the number of translatable opportunities in women’s health at Massachusetts research institutions.  

“We’re incredibly proud of the potential of these projects announced today to ensure that Massachusetts remains the global life sciences hub,” said MLSC Acting CEO & Vice President of Economic Development and Partnerships Jeanne LeClair. “An important pillar of this hub remains our leadership in women’s health. Massachusetts is uniquely positioned to drive collaboration between industry, education, non-profit, and government in this and other key research areas.” 

“Opportunities like this are critical for the future and competitiveness of Massachusetts,” said Mass General Brigham President and Chief Executive Officer, Anne Klibanski. “I applaud the deep commitment the Healey-Driscoll Administration has shown to life sciences and economic development through the Mass Leads Act. Healthcare is the backbone of the state’s economy, and this essential funding supports Mass General Brigham’s mission to provide exceptional patient care, advance research and innovation, educate the next generation of healthcare leaders, and support the communities we serve.”  

Last year, Massachusetts was chosen by the federal Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an agency within the National Institutes of Health, to host its Investor Catalyst Hub, demonstrating the effectiveness of the state’s investments in the life sciences. This past February, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited Massachusetts to announce ARPA-H’s Sprint for Women’s Health to push high-impact biomedical research forward to improve women’s health outcomes. The Investor Catalyst Hub played a lead role in managing the solicitation, which closed for submissions on Monday, April 15. It is expected that multiple Massachusetts-based institutions submitted proposals for funding. 

The Governor’s proposed long-term commitment in the Mass Leads Act will position Massachusetts to win more investment in the life sciences industry, develop more life-saving cures, and create more jobs. It will build on the success of prior authorizations while making adjustments to account for present-day challenges and opportunities. The initiative has three core parts:   

  1. Capital: The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center will embrace a model that encourages multi-institution, cross-sector collaboration among key industries, such as biotechnology, manufacturing, medical technology, higher education, and healthcare. Through this realignment, the state will be better able to pursue health equity ventures, research and development, and capital eligible initiatives to support the ecosystem.   

  1. Tax Incentives: The Life Sciences Tax Incentive Program has proven successful in incentivizing the creation of jobs in the industry. This bill proposes to increase the statutory cap for life sciences tax incentives to create more capacity in the future and extends the program to 2033 to demonstrate the state’s commitment for the next decade. This will further enhance a valuable business development tool to attract and retain companies in Massachusetts.     

  1. Operating: This new strategy also projects annual appropriations for workforce development programming and other strategic initiatives, including support for early-stage companies. Notably, this component of the strategy incorporates an expansion of Pathmaker, a key component of the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s MassTalent Initiative, to scale career training programs for in-demand job opportunities within the industry.     

More information can be found in the Life Sciences issue brief.    

More on MLSC Women’s Health Awardees: 

The Women’s Health Innovation Grants programs focuses on projects with translational potential and preliminary supporting data, but still require a key set of proof-of-concept experiments prior to attracting a commercial partner or spinning out into a new company. The Center is awarding 10 projects totaling $2.6 million. 

Awardee: Dr. Emily Lau, Massachusetts General Hospital 

Project title: Prediction of Pregnancy Outcomes Using Deep Learning Estimation of Cardiorespiratory Fitness (VO2 PEAK) 

Awardee: Dr. Ethan Litman, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 

Project title: Non-invasive Point-Of-Care Hemoglobin Testing in Pregnancy 

Awardee: Dr. Igor Sokolov, Tufts University 

Project title: Novel imaging modality and image analysis to decrease the number of unnecessary colposcopies during screening for cervical cancer 

Awardee: Dr. Liqun Wang, Harvard University 

Project title: Novel brain shuttle mediated anti-HER2 therapeutics for breast cancer brain metastasis 

Awardee: Dr. Megha Gupta, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 

Project title: Assessment of Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction in Pregnant and Postpartum Patients Using a Novel Handheld Ultrasound Device with AI-Assisted Algorithm 

Awardee: Dr. Michael House, Tufts Medical Center 

Project title: Benchtop Testing of a Medical Device to Treat Cervical Insufficiency 

Awardee: Dr. Needa Brown, Northeastern University 

Project title: InCITE: A Biomaterial Platform to Overcome Barriers to Drug Delivery 

Awardee: Dr. Staci Gruber, McLean Hospital 

Project title: Evaluating the Impact of a Novel Cannabinoid Product for Endometriosis 

Awardee: Dr. Zohreh Izadifar, Boston Children's Hospital 

Project title: Personalized BV Treatments: Harnessing Organ Chip Models to Tackle Health Inequity 

Awardee: Dr. Zsuzsanna Zsengeller, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 

Project title: Second generation dual-function redox modulators for Preeclampsia therapy 

The First Look Awards program, a collaboration between the MLSC and the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, supports exploratory projects to begin developing translatable solutions for women’s health and furthering our understanding of gender biology. The Center is awarding five projects totaling $250,000. 

Awardee: Dr. Anahita Dua, Massachusetts General Hospital 

Project title: Personalizing Anti-platelet Medications to Decrease Thrombotic Rates in Elderly Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease Post Lower Extremity Revascularization 

Awardee: Dr. Christina Bailey-Hytholt and Dr. Diana Alatalo, Worcester Polytechnic Institute 

Project title: Lithium-loaded lipid particles for treating bipolar disorder during pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Awardee: Dr. Lydia Shook, Massachusetts General Hospital 

Project title: Characterizing the Immune Landscape of the Placenta in Pregnancies Complicated by Type 1 Diabetes 

Awardee: Dr. Mariane Le Fur, Massachusetts General Hospital 

Project title: Non-invasive diagnosis of endometriosis by molecular imaging 

Awardee: Dr. Natalie Feldman, Brigham Women’s Hospital 

Project title: Pilot of a Digital Mental Health Intervention for Postpartum Anxiety 


About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center 

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an economic development investment agency dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the life sciences in Massachusetts, home to the most verdant and productive life sciences ecosystem in the world.  Through public-private funding initiatives, the MLSC supports innovation, research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities in the fields of biopharma, medical device, diagnostics and digital health.  Since its creation in 2007, the MLSC has strategically deployed more than $970 million in Massachusetts, through a combination of grants, loans, capital infrastructure investments, tax incentives and workforce programs.  These investments have created thousands of jobs and propelled the development of new therapies, devices and scientific advancements that are improving patient health and well-being in Massachusetts and beyond.  


Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces $2.8 Million in Life Sciences Funding to Improve Women’s Health Outcomes

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